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Flavorful Chicken Salads for Summer

Cold Chicken Salad

The idea behind chicken salad is basic. Add shredded or chopped chicken to a bowl, mix with mayonnaise and some spices. What’s great about it is how the spices and flavors can create something special. By adding a bit of this and a dash of that, you can take a basic chicken salad to a whole new level.

“This is lovely for a light supper at the end of a summer day as you sit on your veranda surveying your gardens on your estate,” jokes CC McCart-Frost of her Orange Chicken Salad. “Okay, I suffer from delusions of grandeur, but you get the idea,” she goes on to say.

CC incorporates rice into her recipe. It is cooked with orange peel that adds a subtle orange flavor and works as a great base of flavor in this salad. Her dressing, with white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, orange juice, and a hint of sugar, is light and sweet. Rice, chopped chicken, the vinaigrette and cashews are mixed together for a light but filling chicken salad.

There are so many wonderful flavors and texture combinations in Fran Say’s (Sunnyvale, CA) Ramen Chinese Chicken Salad our taste buds fell in love at first bite. “Though not a traditional dish, this Chinese chicken salad is still a fave in our family,” explains Fran.

This salad is filled with crunch thanks to ramen noodles and slivered almonds. Cabbage and carrots are mixed with shredded chicken which makes a hearty meal. A bit of cilantro gives the dish a peppery taste. With a nutty sesame flavor and a hint of sweet from rice wine vinegar, you’ll be using this dressing on more things than just this salad.

If you want to serve chicken salad at a barbecue and have ample leftovers for lunch, make Elizabeth Lancaster’s (Seagoville, TX) Famous Pecan Chicken Salad. It feeds a crowd!

“I went out to eat with my Grandpa Klepper and he was telling me about a chicken salad sandwich that he had fallen in love with and wanted me to try it,” explains Elizabeth. “I looked over the salad and determined that I had most of the ingredients in my own kitchen and I could venture out and make my own. I am so glad I did; now it’s a huge hit with family and friends.”

What really makes this chicken salad stand out is the addition of grapes and apples. They add a pop of sweet flavor to each bite. Crunchy, thanks to peans and diced celery, and creamy, you’re going to find yourself going back for more and more. It’s really good.

Fun and colorful, I loved Eddie Jordan’s (Bristow, OK) refreshing twist with his Red, White, and Blue Chicken Salad recipe. “This chicken salad is great for lunch, dinner or a midnight snack – it’s good anytime,” thinks Eddie and I’d agree.

It’s sweet, savory and has a little tang. I never thought to add dried cranberries and blueberries to my chicken salad. The mixture of flavors and textures is amazing. Serve on toasted sourdough bread, a croissant or even over lettuce, and it will be a delicious meal. The hardest part is waiting for the chicken to cook!

Lonna Weidemann’s (Helena, MT) Cold Chicken Salad is a filling recipe. Cool and creamy this was a big hit in the Test Kitchen. We really enjoyed the slight tang Miracle Whip brings to the salad. The chicken and pasta pair well with the delicious spices. Crunchy bits of celery throughout are yummy and add texture. Using a store-bought rotisserie chicken means this can be prepped in no time.

Whether you’re looking for a small lunch or an easy dinner, these homemade chicken salad recipes are perfect summertime meals. Do you have a favorite? Share the recipe below… I’m sure my fellow chicken salad fans are eager to try new recipes too. Happy Pinching!